Preceptor confidence and engagement in providing leadership activities to students in advanced pharmacy practice experiences

Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2018 Jul;10(7):895-902. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2018.04.006. Epub 2018 Apr 27.


Introduction: Preceptor perceptions about providing leadership activities during the fourth year of the doctor of pharmacy curriculum were examined.

Methods: An anonymous questionnaire was sent electronically to 610 preceptors of fourth year doctor of pharmacy students in August 2015 inquiring about confidence in leadership ability, extent of student engagement in leadership activities, and preceptor support needed. Differences based on leadership background, such as formal training, were examined using independent t-test. Continuous data are presented as mean (standard deviation). P-value < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: Survey response rate was 28% (n = 171). Preceptor confidence in ability to provide leadership activities was 7.38 + /-1.66 [0-10 Likert scale; 0 = cannot do at all, 10 = highly certain can do]. Preceptors were most confident teaching that leadership comes from those with and without titles (8.48 + /-1.64) and least confident engaging students in advocacy (5.41 + /-3.02). Preceptors were most likely to engage students in collaboration [3(1-4)] and least likely to involve them in advocacy [1(1-4)] (measured from 1-4 with 1 = never and 4 = very often). Preceptors with formal leadership training demonstrated higher confidence and more engagement with involving students in leadership activities than those without training (p < 0.05). Examples of common leadership activities shared by preceptors included experiential clinical activities and projects, teaching opportunities, discussions with leaders, and participation in meetings. Leadership training and development was the most requested type of support by preceptors (n = 23, 13.5%).

Conclusion: Preceptors were overall confident about their ability to provide leadership activities, were involving students in some leadership activities, and had the least confidence and engagement in involving students in advocacy. Preceptors may consider increasing engagement in teaching student leadership skills by utilizing examples in this study. Colleges of pharmacy and organizations may collaborate to increase preceptor access to formal leadership training programs and offer preceptor development programs designed to enhance preceptors' abilities to facilitate student leadership experience, reflection on experience, and feedback.

Keywords: Advanced pharmacy practice experiences; Leadership; Preceptor.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Faculty, Pharmacy / psychology*
  • Faculty, Pharmacy / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Male
  • Perception*
  • Pharmacy Residencies / methods
  • Pharmacy Residencies / standards
  • Preceptorship / methods
  • Preceptorship / standards*
  • Program Development / methods
  • Self Efficacy
  • Students, Pharmacy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires